AndroidAppsTablets

Amazon working on Android app store, here we go again…

lotsofappstores - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Not grasping the connection between the existence of a product and getting it to consumers has sent more good ideas to the grave than anything else. When Apple announced the iPhone app store a few years ago, they took a product that had existed for years- mobile apps- and made it accessible to anyone and (literally) their grandmother, which we now know was a success like no other. Unfortunately not everyone got the memo of what made the app store such a success…

Android has some serious issues with being spread too thin. Not only are there 250 trillion different devices out there all doing things slightly different and running one of about 8 different versions of the OS currently in use, but they can’t even agree to use the same app store. One of the most epic pains my rear end has ever had to deal with was the AppsLib app store that Archos so thoughtfully put on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet when I had that last year. Not only was it practically impossible to make the app stay open for more than 5 seconds without crashing, but if that miracle actually occured you still only had a tiny handful of apps to choose from. There were other app stores available too, all with their tiny little handful of apps. In the end I had more app stores than I had apps because the apps I actually wanted didn’t exist on Android at all or were only available on the official Android Market. Someone did eventually manage to get that working on it though, but only free apps. Even now lots of devices are sold without Market installed, so you need a hack to get apps- something that (understandably) continues to annoy our writers. Honestly, wtf? If the same concept occured in real life, it would equal having to break into the local grocery store in order to pay for food.

Now Amazon wants to make it even more confusing by adding yet another app store to the mix. Pretty much every single manufacturer has an app store now, joined by the official Market and free app stores that people create just for the heck of it, and now a company who has no affiliation with Android whatsoever wants in on the fun. By doing so, it pushes Android even closer to the old days where getting apps for your Windows Mobile, PalmOS or Symbian smartphone meant spending a few hours googling around and hoping you’d find the app you needed somewhere on the Internet. If you have an iPad, at least you know that every single (non-jailbroken) app out there is available through the app store. You know that if you search for an app and can’t find something that does the job, there is no such thing. On Android, you now basically have to search through a couple of dozen app stores before you are absolutely sure that there is no such app, and you still have to consider the possibility that the app exists somewhere as a loose installation file (which brings up a whole other set of problems regarding the latest versions of the app etc).

To make things “interesting”, Amazon’s app store will be independent of devices and allow you to purchase apps before you buy the device. So, in other words, it’s iTunes. Amazon is also apparently going to decide how much the app is going to sell for, albeit with “some influence” from the developer. That is certainly going to be interesting, and I’d love to see the office building where they’ll house all the people who constantly update the price of 400k apps- assuming of course that Amazon will ever reach the same number of apps as the iOS app store and have the same number of sales going on every single day.

I honestly can’t classify this project as anything but blatantly stupid. To quote George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Having apps spread across different app stores is so beyond stupid that it makes me wonder if Karl Pilkington is running these companies. I’m all for choice, but there’s something to be said for not being able to see the forest because of all the trees. Although in this case, it’s more like not being able to find a tree because you have no idea what forest it’s in.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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22 thoughts on “Amazon working on Android app store, here we go again…

  • Avatar of sideways

    Epic fail, android is too damn difficult… I wont be shopping for high end hardware running android, that’s sure.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Mathis

    Android is not the problem, the problem is androids reputation. Printing on a device ‘running on android’ is good for marketing, everyone connects android with thousands of apps and possibility.
    Googles OS is new, and everyone gets crazy, buying an android-device, the manufacturer start implementing it everywhere(in tablets, smartphones, mp3-players… whats next? toaster??). I’m still waiting for the overkill, and what will be the next Windowsmobile/Android/iOS-hype.

    Reply
  • ITunes/IPad…..one system, one place to shop,one great idea,one besting device………….keyword is ONE, something the Android experience doesn’t understand

    Reply
    • Avatar of macilaci457

      Maybe. Android wants to be free instead ONE. But this will cause problems later on…

      Reply
      • I’m really curious about iOS in regards to this whole “one vs free” thing. I wonder if it would really be a problem for me as a user. My gut feeling is that it’s blown out of proportion a great deal. I’ll just have to see… :)

        Reply
        • At the end of the day iOS has more apps that Android both in quantity and quality. It doesn’t matter how many open, free app stores you have if they’re all (relatively speaking) empty. Whatever features you can’t get through the app store you can get by jailbreaking and basically turning it into the same sort of deal that Android is. The difference is that you can’t turn Android into iOS

          Reply
          • Avatar of Matthew B.

            i kinda disagree… sure, if you use archos tablet as an example, android is nothing like apple; but that’s like saying windows is not as usable as mac because on my netbook it doesn’t work too well.

            Android can be like iOS (samsung galaxy s), it can be like jailbroken iOS (Nexus One/S or any HTC, Samsung, Motorola.. rooted), it can be like feature phone (no appstore installed),it can be like windows mobile 6.5 (hacked archos?), and it can be a disaster (mentioned archos). The only difference from iOS is that with Android you have a choice. So the real “problem” is that with android, you have to have a bit of tech intelligence to be able to make that choice (not too much, i have few friends who don’t know what disk partition is and yet enjoy their well-chosen galaxy s), yet with apple you only need to like their ads.

            Also many ppl are saying that with android you don’t get the newest operating system (galaxy s is still on 2.2), but ppl who care about newest version are going to buy something that will get updated or hack the newer version on the device, and ppl who do not care- simply do not care. So again, it’s all about having the choice.

            And to comment on the amazon market story- it’s stupid. Luckily, official android market works well and it is not anymore true that there are good apps missing (so far i found an app for everything i was looking for on my sister’s g1.. for free.)

          • Android can’t be iOS because it doesn’t have the apps for it. Not yet, anyways. It doesnt matter what device you have, Android simply lacks apps all around

  • Avatar of kasrhp

    I agree with Mathis, in this case, the problem is not Android. It is simply the moronic people that think they can make things better. Heck, you have carrier app stores, Amazon app stores, and many others. But, this is the nature of the beast when you don’t have rules in place to protect your system.

    Reply
    • But that’s kind of the fault of Android, not having those rules. That’s what people are saying when they are complaining about Android. Sure, if everybody would play nice, then the fact that Android is this sort of No Man’s Land wouldn’t be a problem. But they don’t, and it is.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Mathis

    And you get only stuff from/over apple, no alternative, thats nearly a closed system.

    Reply
    • Very few applications are ever rejected. It doesn’t matter if it’s technically closed if it doesn’t appear that way in use. Just as it doesn’t matter that Android is open when the result is this sort of messy app distribution system where no one has any idea what’s going on where.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Mathis

    I understand your point about different versions of android (1.5/1.6/2.0/…), but part of your arguments are multiple appstores, right?
    Thirdparty-appstores are not (always) supported naturaly by android, you have toenable it on your own. Isn’t it the same with iOS and cydia? It’s not an official store, but if you want to have… for example the vlc-player, you have to go over cydia(my iPad has no jailbrake or cydia, i got my vlc-app just in time from the original appstore :) ).
    So in this point, it’s the same. You’re still right about that messy versionchaos of android…

    Reply
    • Jailbreak requires that you hack the whole thing. Android app stores are essentially just apps, unless you have to hack it to get he OFFICIAL app store (market), which is completely backwards. No ios device comes with cydia but not itunes, which would be the same as what is happening on android

      Reply
      • Avatar of Mathis

        Mea culpa… i get it. I love apple for it’s easy to use and most times working with no problem system(despite your in-app bugproblems in your diaries), but from time to time i have the feeling, that apple loves it to throw stones in my workflow(sync works only with ONE laptop).
        Great products and at that point, big questionmark…

        Reply
  • Avatar of Relyt

    I think Amazon has good intentions and that theirs will quickly jump to #2 behind the Android market, but the fact that there are any alternates is somewhat discerning. I’ve heard arguments that the Market is an open, yet free-for-all and crazy store that appeals really only to techies like us that need the obscure apps and openness of the store. Common users really don’t care, so a somewhat limited store like Amazon’s proposed one would be ideal for them. (I heard this either on the Engadget Podcast or the Noisecast – thenoisecast.com)

    Reply
  • Avatar of Barto

    Just my opinion here. Android apps are messy and hard to locate or discover what you’re looking for. And to this end Amazon has good intentions of trying to make it better while trying to cut in on the profit. Fair enough, but I think we can all see what the end result will be… more mess, more clutter, more confusion. It’s really a shame because personally I love the Android OS, just not the app experience. Then you have the other end, Apple. The operating system feels limited, locked, walled off at every corner. You must use iTunes, love it or hate it, and the app store is your only (legitimate) choice for apps. So its not confusing where to get your apps from, but it is still not easy or a pleasure to locate and discover new apps. But with Apple, my experience with the apps is that they are much better quality and a much more enjoyable user experience than equivalent Android apps.

    There has to be some sort of happy medium somewhere.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Mathis

      the quality of apples apps is a big point for me, that the iPad is out of reach for android. Autodesk Sketchbook, there’s no good app in the androidstores like the appleversion, so… iOS is my first choice for tablets, till android gets the big companies like autodesk on their side…

      Reply
  • I didn’t know about this move Amazon is making. I agree with the article’s conclusion. There should be one place for the user’s apps.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Nikko

    It’s being user-friendly is what Apple is good at, that is why they are really successful.

    Reply
  • Stupid, we don’t need another app store. Interesting to see the debate this article has sparked above.

    Have to disagree with you on one thing though. I think Karl Pilkington would share your hatred for the multiple app store situation and that would be one of very few things he’d get right. lol

    Reply

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